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There is no shortage of recent recordings of the Widor Symphonies, many featuring historic Cavaillé-Coll instruments. Wolfgang Rübsam’s new survey takes the view that Widor himself performed his symphonies in recitals all over Europe on instruments of very different provenance; so, for this first volume, we have the E.M. Skinner organ at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The first two symphonies sound very fine, with noble singing-tone from the foundations and clear, assertive reeds. However, I find Rübsam’s rubato somewhat wayward and passage-work over-articulated which, for me, renders the music less symphonic. This is particularly evident in an incredibly ponderous Marche pontificale. The Second Symphony fares better but excludes the original Scherzo movement, perhaps because the slower tempi already take this disc well over 80 minutes.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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